Towns and Cities

This highly urbanized, first-class city and provincial capitol is the oldest city in the Western Visayas and is the commercial, cultural, religious, educational and transportation center of the region. Its port, one of the country’s finest, is protected by Guimaras Island.  It handles a considerable volume of rice and sugar shipments. Iloilo City is composed of six districts: the city proper, Arevalo (7 kms. from the city proper), Jaro (an elite residential center 4 kms. from the city proper), La Paz (2 kms. from the city proper), Manduriao (site of airport, 2 kms.  from the city proper) and Molo (4 kms. from the city proper), each with its own plaza, church and market.

Places to See
  • Plaza Libertad (formerly Plaza Alfonso XII), at the intersection of De la Rama, Gen. Hughes and Zamora Sts., was the site where the first Philippine flag was raised after Spain's surrender to Gen. Martin Delgado in December 25, 1898.
  • San Jose Parish Church, at Plaza Libertad, was started in 1873 by Augustinian Fr. Mauricio Blanco, who also built the convent. The two flanking three-storey, rectangular bell towers were started by Fr. Mauricio Blanco on January 14, 1893.  The church was repaired in 1902 by Fr. Manuel Diez, spared during World War II and restored by Engr. Mariano Cacho (of Panay Electric Co.).  The main altar was gilded with 17,000 gold panels by Fr. Jesus Fernandez.  Renovated again from 1980-1982 by Fr. Gilbert Centina III, O.S.A.., Romblon marble was used to decorate the transept walls, presbytery, the main and side altar walls and the floors. The church houses the image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.  The statue was found on September 29, 1614 during the defense of Iloilo by Cpl. Diego de Quinones against the invading Dutch fleet under Adm. Georges Spillberg.  It was taken in solemn procession to the fort by Frs. Jeronimo Alvarado and Juan de Morales.  It was damaged during the 1850 church fire, repaired in Manila in 1873 and restored again in 1907 by Doña Candelaria Soriano Vda. de Cacho.
  • Fort San Pedro, near the mouth of the Iloilo River, was built in 1616 as a defense against enemy raids but almost totally destroyed by naval and air bombardment in World War II.  The Iloilo-Negros Air Express Company (INAEC, founded by Don Eugenio Lopez, Sr. on February 3, 1933) pioneered the first commercial aircraft flight in the country, which took off from a nearby grassy airfield. At the river mouth, near Fort San Pedro, is a lighthouse and Rotary Park.
  • Muelle Loney, the riverfront, with its wharves and warehouses, is a popular promenade named after Nicholas Loney (1826-April 22, 1859), British vice-consul in Iloilo in 1855 and Fr. of the Philippine Sugar Industry.  He established the first trading company in Iloilo and transformed and galvanized the local sugar industry in Negros and Panay by importing British machinery.
  • J.M. Basa Street, the city's busiest main thoroughfare, is lined with shops, handicraft stores, moviehouses and restaurants. Nineteenth century structures are located on along this street and along Iznart St. (formerly Calle Real).  They include the Commission on Audit (COA) Bldg. and the Ker & Co. (K & C) Bldg..  The latter, with its West Indies ambiance, has a marvelous iron staircase cast in Scotland.
  • Museo Iloilo, along Bonifacio Drive, behind the Provincial Capitol, is referred to as the city's “Window to the East.”  The museum showcases Iloilo's rich cultural heritage.  It has a well-displayed collection iand one section is devoted to articles recovered by divers from the wreck of a 19th century British steamer lying in 7 m. of water on the Oton Shoals, off Guimaras Island.  Open 8am-12 noon and 1-pm.
  • The residential district of Arevalo has some fine 19th century houses. The streets around the Arevalo plaza, called Millionaires Row, contain several fine old mansions, with their rich collections of antiques, belonging to 19th century sugar barons. However, tourists can not just enter these mansions. The 2-storey Ledesma Mansion, at the corner of Seminario St., was designed and built in 1925 by Arch. Juan Cacho. It survived World War II unscathed and was used by the Americans as a hospital. The mansion is noted for its floral carvings along the exterior moulding.
  • The stately Lizares Mansion, in Brgy. Tabuc Suba, is probably the most elegant and most opulent of the old houses. Built in 1937 by Don Emiliano Lizares, it was converted into the headquarters of the Japanese Army during World War II. In 1962, it became the school chapel of the Dominican-run Angelicum School. The building fuses American and Spanish architecture and has spacious lawn.
  • The 3-storey Sanson-Montinola House, along Graciano Lopez-Jaena St., is also called the “Antillan Mansion” or the “Blue House.” Located in front of the where the house of Lopez-Jaena used to stand, it was built in the early 1900s by Don Emong Montinola. It has six rooms on the first floor, eight on the second floor and a ballroom on the third. Its basement, said to be as tall as the house itself, is permanently closed. Today, the house is just an office.
  • Villa Beach, located 1 km. south of Arevalo District, is the nearest beach to Iloilo City.  It has many seaside restaurants.
  • Jaro Cathedral, across the street from the plaza, was first built before 1726 by Fr. Bernardino Alisen.  It was heavily damaged during the July 13, 1824 earthquake and was restored by Fr. Jose Alvarez from 1833 to 1835.  The present structure was built in 1874 upon the orders of Most Reverend F. Mariano Cuartero, O.P., first bishop of Jaro.  It was damaged by January 5, 1948 earthquake and reconstructed in 1956 under Archbishop Jose Ma. Cuenco.  This Gothic-style cathedral is the seat of the Jaro Archbishopric.  Its separate 3-storey, 25-m. high, red brick belfry was built by Fr. Juan Aguado, restored by Fr. Jose Alvarez from 1833 to 1835 and was ruined during the 1948 earthquake.
  • Graciano Lopez-Jaena Statue (Jaro Plaza)
  • St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary, located near the Jaro Cathedral, was where Lopez-Jaena went to school.
  • The 5,865-sq. m. Balantang Memorial Cemetery, a national shrine in Brgy. Balantang, Jaro District, is the only military cemetery outside of Metro Manila.  Declared as a National Shrine on July 13, 1994 by virtue of Proclamation No. 425, it was the site of a bloody (February 6-March 20, 1945) battle between guerilla forces (Sixth Military District) of Col. Macario L. Peralta and Japanese forces during the liberation.  Its Memorial Cemetery Museum displays World War II vintage firearms, 81 mortars, photographs and situation maps depicting historical events.  The cemetery also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
  • The Magdalena Jalandoni Residence, along Commission Civil St., Jaro District, contains collections of Magdalena Jalandoni’s (the first Republic Cultural Heritage for Literature awardee in 1969) works.
  • The brick and stone Church of Our Lady of Peace, at La Paz District, was started by Fr. Candido Gonzalez, continued by Fr. Leandro Jambrina in 1879 and Fr. Manuel Camara in 1880 and enlarged and finished by Fr. Mariano Isart in 1895.  It was restored by Fr. Anselmo Corcuera in 1909. The stone convent was started by Fr. Mariano Isart based on plans by Don Julio Hernandez and Don. Lorenzo Romero.
  • The Science Centrum, within the Iloilo National High School campus, La Paz District, is the first dynamic interactive science museum in the Western Visayas.  It seeks to draw children and adults into a world of science and technology.
  • The twin-towered Gothic-Renaissance Church of St. Anne, in Molo District, was built of coral rock in 1831 under the supervision of Don Jose Manuel Locsin.  The church has withstood artillery barrages during the liberation of Iloilo in 1945 but its two belfries were totally destroyed and the church partially damaged.  It was rebuilt after the war.  It has stained-glass windows and five retablos and is also called the Women's Lib church because of the 16 female saints' statues lining the nave.  Its patron saint, St. Anne, is in a prominent corner of its massive, antique wooden altar.
  • Asilo de Sta. Luisa de Marilac, along Avancena St., beside the Molo Church, is an orphanage founded in 1912 by Bishop Dennis Dougherty and run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.  It is a self-contained community with its own skills training center, dormitory, social hall, nursery, infirmary and isolation ward for newcomers.
  • Old family mansions in within Molo District include the Locsin Residence, Mejica Residence, Meliza Residence and the Timoteo Consing Old House (located across the plaza).
  • The Tiongco Residence, located a block north, has a famous antique collection which includes sculpture, pottery and burial artifacts.
  • The Rosendo Mejica Museum, in Baluarte, Molo District, houses valuable memorabilia as well as social and cultural literature in Hiligaynon, English and Spanish dating from the last quarter of the 19th century till the 20th century.
Brief History
  • Arevalo was the former capital of the province.
  • The La Villa Rica de Arevalo was the flower-decked seat of the Alcandia de Panay.
  • Jaro District, founded by the Augustinians on March 3, 1575, was formerly called Salog.  The district's name was later Hispanized as Xaro and later Jaro.
  • Jaro , a visita of Ogtong (now Oton), was annexed to the Villa de Arevalo in 1584.
  • Originally located at Alanga (now La Paz), Jaro became an independent parish on April 25, 1587.
  • Jaro  was relocated to its current site by Fr. Bernardino Alisen and completed from 1742 to 1744 by Fr. Juan Aguado.
  • Iloilo port was opened to international tradein 1855.
  • La Paz, formerly called Lobo, Llauon (or Ilaod meaning “down the river”) and Iznart, became an independent parish in 1868. 
    On March 27, 1868, Jaro was made into a archbishopric, embracing Western Visayas, by His Holiness Pope Pius IX in his apostolic letter Quiqui ab initio.  It was subsequently elevated to the category of a city.
  • The districts of Arevalo, Jaro, La Paz, Mandurriao and Molo  were incorporated to the city in 1936 by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 158.
  • On June 29, 1951, Jaro was elevated to the archdiocesan level by virtue of the Papal Bull Quo in Philippina Republica issued by Pope Pius XII.

Iloilo City proper is the birthplace of:

  • Gregorio Araneta (Molo District, April 19, 1869-March 9, 1930) - Malolos Congress Secretary, Aguinaldo’s Secretary of Justice, Supreme Court justice, Philippine Commission member and Secretary of Justice and Finance
  • Ramon Avancena (Molo District, April 13, 1872-June 12, 1957) - Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 1926-41
  • Esteban de la Rama (Molo District, 1866-November 30, 1947) - prominent businessman and philanthropist
  • Melecio Figueroa (Arevalo District, May 24, 1842-July 30, 1903) -  sculptor, engraver and Malolos Congress delegate.
  • Patrocinio Gamboa (Jaro District, April 30, 1865-November 24, 1953) - member of the revolutionary Comite Conspirador and sewer of Philippine flag raised at inauguration of the revolutionary government in Sta. Barbara.
  • Josefa Jara-Martinez (Mandurriao District ,January 21, 1894-April 24, 1987) -  educator and pioneer social welfare worker.
  • Stevan Javellana (La Paz District, February 5, 1918-1977)  - lawyer and novelist
  • Fernando Lopez (Jaro District, April 13, 1904-May 27, 1993) - elected Vice-President of the Philippines, 1949, 1965 and 1969.
  • Graciano Lopez-Jaena (Jaro District, December 17, 1856-January 20, 1896) - famous propagandist, orator and journalist
  • Angel Magahum (Molo District, October 1, 1867-November 28, 1935) - Hiligaynon novelist and playwright
  • Jose Ma. Nava (July 31, 1891-January 14, 1954) - Hiligaynon playwright, labor leader and newspaperman
  • Eugene Torre (November 4, 1951) - Asia’s first chess grandmaster
  • Pura Villanueva-Kalaw (Molo District, August 27, 1886-March 21, 1954) - civic leader, writer and leading exponent in woman suffrage movement
  • Jose Zulueta (Molo District, February 7, 1889) - Speaker of the House of Representatives, 1945 and Senate President, 1953.
Location and Topography

Iloilo City is sheltered by Guimaras Island and is located on the alluvial plain where the Iloilo River’s delta meets the Iloilo Strait.

General Information
  • Area (sq. kms.): 118.6
  • Population (2000): 365,820
  • No. of Barangays: 180
  • Income Class: First
  • District: Lone
  • Zip Code: 5000
  • Area Code: 033
Tourist Information Center
  • City Tourism Office - City Hall, Plaza Libertad (tel: 336-7572 & 337-2172)
  • City Mayor’s Office - City Hall, Plaza Libertad (tel: 337-2760, fax: 335-0689).
  • Iloilo City Convention Bureau - La Fiesta Hotel, M.H. del Pilar St., Molo District (tel: 337-9508)
  • Fourth Weekend of January (Dinagyang Festival, Sto. Niño) - held  in Iloilo City, it also recalls the legendary Maragtas, the Barter of Panay. The festival was started in 1968 as the Iloilo Ati-Atihan Festival.  In order to differentiate it from other Ati-Atihan festivals, the word Dinagyang, an Ilonggo term for revelry or merrymaking (coined by writer/broadcaster Pacifico Sudario), was used since 1977. The festival opens with a fluvial procession of the Santo Nino along the Iloilo River.  It is followed by a streetdancing contest characterized by the frenetic stomping of feet and hypnotic drumbeating.  The contest is participated in by uniquely costumed “tribes” of black-painted warriors clad in ornate costumes who dance and chant all day and night through the main streets of the city.
  • February 2 (Our Lady of Candles) - this festival of candles, in honor of tJaro District's patron saint, is the biggest and most opulent religious pageantry in Western Visayas.  It features the blessing of candles inside Jaro Cathedral, procession of the image of Our Lady of Candles (found by fishermen at the Iloilo River) followed by the fiesta queen and her court, masses, a beauty contest, music, carnival shows, garden show, grand cock derbies, agro- industrial exhibits and cultural events.
  • May 24 (Batchoy Festival, Our Lady of Peace) - celebrated in La Paz District, it features the preparation of the biggest bowl of its famous La Paz batchoy.
  • July 26 (Pansit Molo Festival) - celebrated in Molo District, here, the biggest bowl of pansit molo will be prepared on this day for everyone to savor.
  • November 26 (Talabahan Festival) - celebrated in Manduriao District, it features the opening of the longest stretch of stalls selling talaba (steamed oysters) from dusk to dawn.
Medical Assistance
  • Great Savior International Hospital, Inc. - Solis St., Tap-oc, Molo (tel: 338-1505-13)
  • Iloilo Doctors Hospital (300 beds) - West Ave., Molo (tel: 337-7701 to 02 & 337-7285)
  • Iloilo Mission Hospital (230 beds) - Mission Rd., Jaro (tel: 320-0315 to 20)
  • Our Mother of Perpetual Help Hospital (10 beds) – Luna St., La Paz (tel: 508-9646)
  • St. Paul's Hospital (220 beds) - Gen. Luna St. (tel: 337-2741 to 49)
  • St. Therese-MTC Hospital – San Agustin (tel: 338-0044, fax: 337-9508)
  • Savior International Hospital – North San Jose, Molo (tel: 338-1505)
  • Seamen's Hospital - Onate St., Mandurriao (tel: 321-2438)
  • West Visayas State University Medical Center (300 beds) - E. Lopez St., Jaro (tel: 320-2431 to 38 & 329-0361, fax: 320-2623)
  • Western Visayas Medical Center (400 beds) - Q. Abeto St., Mandurriao (tel: 321-2841 to 50 & 321-2535)


Iloilo Provincial Capitol

Provincial City Hall

Iloilo City Hall

City Hall

Iloilo Downtown


Iloilo Nelly's Garden

Nelly's Garden

Iloilo City Lizares Mansion/Angelicum School

Nizares Mansion/Angelicum School

Iloilo Fort San Pedro

Fort San Pedro

Iloilo City Fountain


Iloilo City Museo Iloilo

Museo Iloilo

Iloilo City Museo Iloilo

Museo Iloilo - Exhibit

Iloilo Port


Iloilo City River

Iloilo River

Iloilo City Ker & Co.

Ker & Co. Building

Iloilo City Cathedral of our Lady of Peace

Cathedral of Our Lady of Candles

Iloilo City Cathedral of Our Lady of Candles

Cathedral of Our Lady of Candles - Bell Tower

Iloilo City Church of our Lady of Peace

Church of Our Lady of Peace

Iloilo City Church of Our Lady of Peace - Interior

Church of Our Lady of Peace - Interior

Iloilo City Church of St. Anne - Molo District

Church of St. Anne - Molo District

Iloilo City Gazebo Molo District

Gazebo - Molo District

Iloilo City Church of St. Joseph

Church of St. Joseph

Iloilo City Church of St. Joseph Interior

Church of St. Joseph - Interior

Iloilo City Church of St. Joseph Retablo

Church of St. Joseph - Retablo

Iloilo City Iloilo Church of St. Joseph Ceiling

Church of St. Joseph - Ceiling



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